Posted in TV Stuff

Cutting the cable and diving into the stream

Everyone’s feeling the pinch at the moment. Inflation rising and so the costs of thing is rising faster than everyone’s wages. We are earning less in real times than we have been and as a result, lots of people are cutting back on things.

One of those costs at our end has been our TV and internet bill. I looked at the amount we were paying and then checked it against what we watching. You would expect that the satellite/cable service would be a large portion of it, based on the number of channels and the convenience. But as the whole of the family looked into it, we found less and less satellite and freeview TV being watched. So I cut the cord.

It was liberating. Now we watch a similar amount of TV programmes/films, but less time watching TV weirdly. Between streaming services and my admittedly excessive DVD/Blu-Ray collection, I have plenty to watch. The overabundance of advertising and the seemingly unending list of reality TV, traveldocs and less than inticing ‘must see’ dramas is not something I miss. I don’t even have my aerial in now.

The point (other than depriving Sky of my money) is that I watch what I want to watch, no schedule, no timetable. Despite an earlier post talking about too much (I still regret writing that) I have found having such a glut of entertainment choices means that I always have options. I can find my joy and only have on what I want to have on.

I highly recommend this for others. Watch only what you want to watch, there are enough streaming services and review sites so you can find what you’ve missed out on. There has been enough made to watch only the things you enjoy. By the time you have gone through the best, there are whole series of new things to enjoy. With DVR, DVD/Blu-Ray and Streaming Apps, the response to “What’s on TV tonight?” can always be “Whatever I want.”

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Posted in TV Stuff

5 more theme tunes that transcend

Well here are some more tv ear worms for your enjoyment. Clips courtesy of YouTube

The Flintstones

The Flintstones was the first real success in adapting a sitcom into an animated show. Another example is Top Cat. This was an adaptation of the Honeymooners and one of the early fat guy with inexplicably hot wife set ups that continues to this day. The tune though is memorable and when the show was adapted to a live action film, the tune was released as a single. Also, who wouldn’t want to leave work that way?

Rawhide

I have never seen an episode of the TV show Rawhide. Westerns aren’t my thing and I am not as old as all that. But I knew the tune and it’s fun. Then I was watching the film the Blues Brothers and here it was again.

The A-Team

In 1972 a crack commando unit …… It conjures a tale of betrayed heroes and rising action and was much like the show, larger than life and an almost cartoon like spectacle. It showed up again in the ubiquitous live action film and also in the sitcom Spaced and if you are of a certain age, the staccato gunshots showing the opening titles with bring a Saturday afternoon smile.

Ally McBeal

This was a suggestion by the MIGHTY Rosie and I am not sure I agree, but it is a testament to this shows popularity and its watchability, because I hated this tune. Much like the A-Team however, the opening bit gets a smile.

Spider-Man

Is there any way at all that this wasn’t going here? It’s a tune 🎶 that people who have never seen the show know. Almost more that Batman it’s the super hero show tune people think of the most. It’s appeared on film, on TV and more. The show has also made it to memes, but that’s another story

Well that’s all folks, these are the ones I thought of, but clearly I missed some. Let me know which ones internet people, am counting on you.

TTFN

Posted in TV Stuff

5 Theme tunes that transcend the show

One of the most endearing elements of the television show is the opening credits. This is becoming something of a dying art, with shorter openings and some shows having no theme tune to go with it. Some tunes do so well that just hearing it brings the show back to mind, Cheers had Where everybody knows your name, almost a perfect theme tune.

For me, some go beyond that, transcending the show that they are opening and get to a point where you remember the tune far more than the show.

Monkey

This one might just be personal to me, very few people I know even remember this show. But this tune often floats around in my head. When re-designing the site, I used a line from this song ‘funkiest monkey there ever was’ as a sort of sub-title. It was catchy and fun and sticks in my head better than the show ever did.

Knight Rider

Beyond the show that catapulted ‘the Hoff’ to megastardom, it was a show with one of the best mood setting tunes in TV history. The tune has been repurposed several times, a memorable one is part of Busta Rhyme’s ‘Fire it up!’ and that brought the tune back to prominence again. To describe how this lives rent free in my head, all I need say is that it’s my alarm tune. I hear it 5 days per week and am glad of it.

Batman

Nana nana nana nana Batman! It’s become a meme. It’s been a joke for a long time, but you know it. When you think of comic book stuff on TV, it’s one of the first you think of. Whenever comic related stuff was discussed in mainstream news, the sound effects from this show appear to highlight it’s silliness. That said, it was supposed to be camp and silly and when viewed through that lens is exactly what it should be and has the theme song to match.

Scooby Doo, where are you?

This is another one that might just be me. but the song and it’s opening credits stick in my head more so that the show ever did. Despite there being dozens of movies and shows featuring the most famous Great Dane and his human side-kicks, this is the one that they are all based on, or are all compared to.

Friends

“Well no one told you life was going to be this waaayyyy.’ and with that, you’re already clapping

One of those theme tunes that hit the charts and became synonymous with the show and yet more still. Can’t say anymore than that really.

Well that’s what’s been rolling around my head for the past few days. I will no doubt think of more and do an unnecessary sequel before too long.

Ttfn Internet people,

Posted in TV Stuff

5 Hidden Gems of 90s Films

Due to stuff related to home, I have been going through my admittedly expansive DVD collection. It left me with the idea that there are a lot of fun films both in my collection and not that came out in the 90s and are ignored or undervalued. These aren’t parts of large franchises, or huge blockbusters, but are films I both have enjoyed and feel deserve a bit of recognition for being a lot of fun.

Lets start with an obscure one – Cold-blooded

This was a bit of a dark comedy from 1995. Directed by Wallace Wolodarsky and had Jason Priestly, Kimberley Williams-Paisley, Peter Riegert and Robert Loggia. It’s about bookie working for the mob who is promoted to apprentice hitman, given his calm and dispassionate nature, he’s very good at it. He’s also trying to have a relationship with a yoga teacher and work out what it is he should be doing. It’s a charming film that I don’t know if anyone else has seen.

Dark City

Written and directed by Alex Proyas and featuring acting talent of Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt and the always fun Richard O’Brien. This is a story that plays with concepts of memory, free will and perception as beings known as Strangers meddle with the memory of the denizens of some unnamed city where it’s always night, as they try to find something and when they find it, things get even more strange.

Mallrats

After the critical smash of Clerks, Writer/Director Kevin Smith was given a budget, access to a set in daylight and a larger cast of actors to make his second film. This second film did not do well at the box office. Comic obsessed slacker Brodieman Bruce and his best friend TS visit their local mall to win back their ex-girlfriends through a series of escapades with a variety of bizarre characters in their New Jersey town. Starring a cast of Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Michael Rooker, Ethan Suplee, Claire Forlani and the legend that is the late Stan Lee, this is a fun and foul mouthed romp that while sank like a stone at the time, found it’s audience on DVD and late night TV. I watched this before seeing the movie Clerks and honestly as a result it has more of a place in my heart. It also gave the world a number of quotable moments, one of my favourite exchanges being “…screw her in an uncomfortable place.”

“What? Like the back of a Volkswagen?” 27 years on, still makes me giggle.

Gattaca

This was a small almost Outer Limits style story, written and directed by Andrew Niccol that was given a budget and a tremendous cast including Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Uma Thurman, Jayne Brook, Elias Koteas, Tony Shaloub and Alan Arkin. It’s a sepia tinged future were designer babies are the norm, their paid for genes being all they need to have to succeed and anyone born less than perfect, or even born naturally are considered in-valid, creating a two tier system. This genetics based aparthied allegory is the story of Vincent, an in-valid who borrows a crippled man’s superior genes and identity to become an astronaut, but as his launch day nears, his lies begin to unravel as a murder opens his workplace to the police. This is sci-fi with thought and tension and keeps your interest in the story throughout.

The Fifth Element

Luc Besson brought us this neon-flavoured chunk of space opera in 1997. We get a story about an ancient evil, the hero/saviour trying to save us from it and the more of less regular guy caught up in the whole thing. I know, so far, so Star Wars. But two things up it from such a limited idea. The first is humour. This is a funny film with several comedy moments and ludicrous ideas being thrown out. Even Chris Tucker and Lee Evans, two ‘comedians’ I struggle to stand doing their mugging to the camera and manufactured zaniness work in this world adding fun to a usually po-faced type of story. The other thing that this has is production design. This film looks like nothing you have ever seen before. It is neon and bright and yet somehow relatable. It gives us a grimy future, but still one with promise. The cast is amazing, a still fun Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman being bizarre and in fact the whole cast is amazing. The story is fairly basic and there’s the odd problematic thing here and there, but it’s a fun slice of sci-fi action that looks nothing like anything else that was out there at the time.

So there, 5 underappreciated films of the 1990s, since starting this, 3 or 4 more have to come to mind and I’m guessing that there may be a sequel in here somewhere, but with so much going on, both personally, nationally and globally, I suppose I wanted a bit of comfort food for the soul and a good hidden gem is exactly what was needed.

I will be back internet people, I don’t know what to say yet, but I didn’t when I started writing this post either.

TTFN

Posted in Comics n Stuff, TV Stuff

5 90’s Comic Book Films

It is hard to imagine in the days of the MCU and the DCEU that a vast array of comic book related movies is still a relatively new concept. Go back 15 years and there was a glut of them of varying quality, 10-15 years before that and it’s still varying quality, but there is only a few of them, which meant it was easier to see them all. That said there was some quality in there.

Most of the ones I chose had a very pulp heroes feel to it, with only one being a traditional super-hero from the big two. The was less product, but more variety, which is a bit sad.

First up is…..

The Rocketeer: 1991 – Dir Joe Johnstone

This is not so much an adaptation, but an homage to republic serials of the 30’s like ‘King of the Rocketmen’ and has been adapted to comics several times since. This is a genuinely fun film, suited for a bank holiday afternoon. It’s a period piece, set in that sweet-spot between the pulp heroes era, the start of the golden age of comics and before the second world war. The cast are fantastic with stand-outs being Jennifer Connelly, who does her best with the thankless ‘damsel in distress’ role and Timothy Dalton taking whole chunks out of the scenery. It’s a sort of film that doesn’t get made anymore and we are sadder for it.

The Shadow: 1994 Dir Russel Mulcahy

Before he was known as a Trump imitator, a comedy performer and a guy famed for his anger, Alec Baldwin was something of a leading man. Here he stars as Lamont Cranston, a criminal searching for redemption posing as a rich dilettante by day and crime fighting mystery man called the Shadow at night. Able to cloud the minds of men and alter his face he battles criminals with his skills, his guns and a network of people who owe him their lives. He battles a descendent of Genghis Khan in 1930’s New York while romancing Margo Lane. A lot of it is silly, but this is again a fun film that doesn’t ask much of you and is a lot of fun beside.

Batman 🦇 Forever: 1995 Dir Joel Shumacher

After the culture phenom that was Tim Burton’s Batman films, Warner Bros went in a different direction for the follow up. Gone was the gothic themes and quirky performances and here was something a bit more camp and over the top. Val Kilmer does an okay job as Bruce Wayne and Batman and Jim Carrey channels his inner Frank Gorshin to give us an energetic Riddler. There are missteps, but honestly this is a comic book on the big screen and if you wanted nuance, realism and coherence in your comic adaptations, then you were not reading comics in the 1990’s. Comparing this to Batman, or Batman Returns shows the films flaws, compare it to Batman & Robin and it starts looking like Citizen Kane.

The Phantom: 1996 Dir Simon Wincer

This was one of the last of those campy superhero-esque films of that decade. Billy Zane dons the purple (yes purple) tights of Kit Walker, the current iteration of the Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks. Battling pirates, mercenaries and corrupt businessmen in the 1930’s this film feels in keeping with Rocketeer and the Shadow and is again a lot of fun. Zane is not the best actor, but he gives it his all and this puts some earnestness to the character that carries him across the finish line. The Phantom is an interesting character and it’s a shame that this under-appreciated classic didn’t lead to more of a series of films, maybe exploring this past and future of the ghost who walks.

Blade: 1998 Dir Stephen Norrington

This was one of the films that changed the who comic book movie genre forever. Blade was a side character in the critical darling Tomb of Dracula comic by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan. New Line took the idea from the comic, jettisoned some of the more 70’s ideas and added some stuff and out came this fun and violent action-horror. Wesley Snipes owns the screen as Blade, a half-vampire/half-human who craving for blood is curbed by a serum and with the vengeance obsessed Whistler fights a nightly battle against a subculture of vampires whose daytime familiars cover up their existence. When a haematologist is turned, Blade becomes personally involved just as Deacon Frost, the vampire who turned his mother, altering him in-utero is trying to change the nature of the vampire/human world. This is a lot of fun, action, some comedy and body horror that put a marvel property on the big screen and made some money. When other studios started paying attention we got the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises and the rest is history.

So that was 5 comic booky movies from the 90’s, all of them are worth checking out if you just want some mindless fun that’s better than you expect it will be.

Posted in TV Stuff

Calling for a Doctor: William Hartnell part 1

Doctor Who started with the remit of putting something on telly between the sport and Juke Box Jury on a Saturday night in the early 1960’s. This was a bit of a gap where families were sitting down together after a day doing whatever and this could cause them to move to the other channel and cost the British Broadcasting Corporation millions of viewers in this nascent field of television.

Produced by Verity Lambert, it was conceived as a show that could be fun, exciting and educational, showcasing science and history in a new and engaging light. It had a modest budget to go along with the modest capacity of special effects of the time, but it had so much heart it pulled it together and produced something a little bit special.

Episode 1: An Unearthtly Child aired on 23 November 1963 and told the tale of school teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Lewis, who were discussing an odd student they both teach called Susan Foreman. She seems at odds with current fashions and concepts, yet is far advanced in science and in history. She seems amazingly bright and yet also lacking the most basic of knowledge that children her age should know. To make matters worse, her home address is just an old junk yard. Feeling concerned and yes a bit nosey, Ian and Barbara go to check it out. Through misunderstandings, they force themselves inside what appears to be a Police Box, a common enough sight at the time, but inside is a large room, too large to fit inside the box. (The first depiction of “it’s bigger on the inside”)

Susan’s only family member is her abrasive and mysterious grandfather who only identifies himself as the Doctor. He gives no name and precious little other information either. Whilst the teachers try to get answers off him, hearing only that he is from neither this place or time, their argument is ended when this ship, which Susan calls TARDIS lights up and with an eerie noise vanishes from the junk yard and appears in a wasteland. The TARDIS is still a Police Box, which concerns the Doctor greatly.

What follows is a story with people from the future interacting with cave people, desperate to learn the secret of fire. Ian raises himself up as an early leader of this group, whilst the Doctor is not shown as friendly, or even really a good man. At one point, he considers killing a captive they have to help them move more quickly and stay safer. Finally this motley foursome make it back to the ship and travel away, finding themselves on a world and time unknown to all of them and as they leave to explore, the Geiger counter (or whatever TARDIS have in its place) shows an alarming amount of radiation outside. They may not be in the caveman era, but they are neither home, nor are they safe.

What was the Doctor Like?

With no particular mould to fit into, in a show that hasn’t really settled on the Doctor as your protagonist, there was no reason to treat the Doctor as a hero and he isn’t. In the first episode he wants little to do with humanity, his staying on Earth in the 1960’s is simply to indulge his granddaughter. He wants to be left alone and as a result is very combative with the two stowaways. Ian and Barbara are in the way and he wants rid of them and I suppose that makes him just as much as stowaway as they are once all of them are forced together through circumstance. But despite his prickly and abrasive demeanour, he is devoted to his granddaughter. Their interactions are genuine and loving. Hartnell doesn’t make his Doctor particularly likeable, but he does give you hints that there’s a good man in there. He’s far from the jovial 4th Doctor, or the charming 10th, but you imagine you can see how to get from one to the others.

What is the story like?

The problem with TV from years gone by is length. Modern Doctor Who operates on a 44min 1 episode story model, at most an 88 minute 2 parter, whilst classic Doctor Who was based on a 25 minute episode, 4-6 part story model and this creates some pacing issues in comparison. They group are captured several times and the main themes and ideas are laid out for the audience several times. It was jarring, but you re-think that as a problem when you realise it was a show that had to appeal to children and maybe a bit of spoon-feeding of plot might not be such a bad thing.

Outside of that, there’s the dialogue, which as for the time is clunky and expositional and the performances are often melodramatic, but in this heightened world that also fits in. William Russell is a good leading man, trying to be both a man of action as well as a thinking man, trying to take care of these people he’s found himself marooned with. The jeopardy feels real and earned and each character has a moment to take the spotlight.

It’s not Doctor Who as I know if, but if there’s anything the show can do it’s reinvent itself. All you need is the basics, a traveller in time and space, a blue box, trouble and people who need help. Everything else can be changed.

I am going to carry on with his and hope to see where this character goes and more importantly what happens next.

Posted in TV Stuff

Calling for a Doctor: Opening

In a world growing more and more complicated and more an more anxiety worthy, it is not an unreasonable desire to find comfort in the familiar and to harken back to times that if they weren’t at least felt simpler. It has led me to rediscover my older fandoms. I have watched the new Star Wars series that have come out, finding them nostaglic on one hand and genuinely engaging on the other. I finished just a month or so ago a highlight heavy rewatch of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 with my son (his first viewing of it) and found it still stands up. This extends to the whole family who are re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it’s spin off (son’s first time on that too) and trying to avoid re-examining the show after accusations on it’s creator and show runner.

But one that I had neglected TV wise was Doctor Who. A week or so ago I made a decision to start watching Doctor Who, from the beginning and if I didn’t have the DVD for it, I would buy it. It’s going to take me years as far as I can gather and to be honest, I’m looking forward to it.

So, like reading/watching projects there are rules. 1: Just the TV show, no Peter Cushing films, no audio-dramas, comics or tie-in/new adventures novels. 2: Everything has to be done chronologically. I start with William Hartnell and move forward with it from there. Rather than do a full re-watch blog, am going to look at firsts and lasts, how the cast, characters and show changes and the highlights/lowlights.

So naturally I started with the first episode of the show and the subsequent 5 part story that came after it, the who story named after chapter 1: The Unearthly child.

Posted in Comics n Stuff, TV Stuff

So Much Content: The disadvantage of living in a geek golden age

I am a middle aged geek. My comic/sci-fi fantom were forged in the 80s and the 90s and in that time, I have seen a lot of genre fiction make it into our living rooms and into our multiplexes. I have seen the lean pickings, the occasional gems and gob-smackingly bizarre. (The Generation -X tv pilot) I was there when our options were limited and have arrived where those options seem unlimited and some days I wonder, have we overdone it?

I was born when Punk and the Muppets arrived and remember how sparse the amount of good quality sci-fi/generally geeky content was. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s we had very little to show for that, I mean we had re-runs of some stuff from the 60’s and some homegrown quality in Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, but the majority of this was relegated to saturday morning fare and the occasional Star Wars/Star Trek film at the cinema.

In the 90’s this seemed to improve, we got a lot of comics/sci-fi related movies that raised the bar for those of my persuasion. We got a Batman film every 2-3 years and there were several comic-related and other sci-fi movies that were of high quality, but those were few and far between.

But in 1998, that changed. New Line Cinema released Blade. It was a Wesley Snipes vehicle based on a supporting character from the 1970’s horror comic Tomb of Dracula. Blade is a half-human/half-vampire who uses bladed weapons to kill vampires as he searches for Deacon Frost, the vampire that fed on his mother, just before he was born. Every other element of his origin and milieu else was retooled and we got a unique looking film that re-launched the idea of a well made comic-book movie. That led direct to a couple of other movies that changed the game forever. The first was 2000’s X-Men, adapted the then-sales-juggernaut comic to the big screen. This was quite a big success and underlined the idea that a comic related movie could make a lot of money. Then in 2002 came Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. This was a comic that was quite faithful to it’s four-colour roots and gave a relatively comics accurate costume and with Tobey Maguire, the most Peter Parker-like depiction on screen to date.

Then the floodgates opened. Within a few years we got another X-Men, another Spider-Man, Hellboy, Daredevil, The Fantastic Four and a year or so after that, Batman and Superman both returned to the box office to no small amount of acclaim.

Since 2008 that has increased exponentially with the introduction of shared cinematic universes. Sony have one, Fox had one with Marvel Characters. Marvel Studios (most of this time owned by Disney) had the ground-breaking Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC tried to the same, didn’t work like, but they are still trying. Even Universal tried something like it with a relaunch of their classic monster IPs that stalled with the Mummy. So we went from getting a comic related movie every few years that may or may not be faithful or good, to getting one every other month that links to a dozen other movies.

Within 14 years, we went from a half decent attempt at a marvel hero on screen to at one point a 20+ series of movies that stand up as a full saga. The second iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the second iteration of a 3rd tier title got their own movie. People who never read a comic in their life know who Rocket Racoon and Drax the Destroyer are, it’s madness.

Still, who goes to the movies every week? It’s a threat to the scale of your DVD/Blu-Ray collection, but still manageable. But what about the idiot box?

TV was in the same boat, we had a Star Trek series, the occasional 90’s gem, but from the 2000’s that seem to explode as well. Smallville debuted in 2001 and we had tonnes come in after that. Heroes, Birds of Prey, Mutant-X (a poundland version of X-Men) Blade and a good few more. Then in 2012, it exploded again. DC brought us Arrow, this spun off into new shows including (but not limited to) The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Batwoman and Black Lightning. Image brought out an adaptation of The Walking Dead, which continues to find an audience after becoming a ratings winner early on. Marvel didn’t do so well, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. struggled to find it’s identity, but still managed last 6 or 7 seasons and Agent Carter was very well received critically. When streaming became a thing, it exploded further. Netflix made a deal with Marvel to adapt their street-level heroes and we got Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher and more recent creation Jessica Jones. We got 13 episodes of each per season and each got at least 2 seasons, then there was the team up series, the Defenders. Fox still owning the X-characters brought of Legion and the Gifted shortly after one another, putting more and more out there.

Then Disney came back in with their acquisition of the Star Wars IP. We got 5 movies, 2 more animated shows and then no less than 3 TV mini-series. Marvel have released at least 6 mini-series in the last two years.

It’s a lot right? It’s hard to keep up and I haven’t mentioned the 4 ongoing Star Trek shows, the DC streaming shows, the plethora of animated shows or the Walking Dead spin-offs. Now that is just current stuff, with the right mix of streaming services, you can watch almost everything that has been on before as well. Sometimes it feels like its too much.

It does come across as poor little geek boy. Complaining that there’s too much to enjoy. It’s a nice problem to have when you really think of it. There’s also the point that your own mileage can vary. What’s too much for me, might be just fine for some, or not enough for another. Maybe I am fatigued and just wanted to take a minute from the onslaught of new multi-media content.

Still, it’s been a pretty interesting 25 years for the geeky among us and who knows what’s next. Who knows what obscure and random characters will now get a TV series, or film or something. It seems that the only place I am not going to see my favourite comic characters in new content is the comics themselves.

I generally don’t know what I was getting at with this.

Posted in The MIGHTY Rosie, TV Stuff

What did I just watch? Or – Vox Machina is worth a look

Whilst not all, much of the sci-fi/genre TV fare that goes on TV at the Munky House is either discovered alongside the Mighty Rosie, or I have brought to the her attention, so when it goes the other way, it’s always something a bit special.

One such thing was Critical Role. Its a live stream of a game of Dungeons & Dragons, the world famous roleplaying game. The group are friends who work in acting and voice acting and their filmed games are quite fun. I watched one with a Christmas theme, that was over four hours long, but was such a laugh.

Now one of their more well regarded filmed campaigns was based on a group of characters known as Vox Machina and Amazon Prime recently adapted it to a 12 part animated adventure set in its fantasy world and the creators of Vox Machina were brought in to voice them and as soon as the MIGHTY Rosie heard of this, she insisted we watch it.

And so we did.

Here be spoilers

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The Legend of Vox Machina was released on 28 January 2022 starring the following:-

Vex’ahlia: Laura Bailey

Vax’ildan: Liam O’Brien

Percy De Rolo: Talieisin Jaffe

Pike: Ashley Johnson

Keyleth: Marisha Ray

Grog: Travis Willigham

Scanlan: Sam Riegel

Vox Machina are a group of adventurers containing many of the kinds of characters you find in a party of D&D players, a rogue, a fighter, a cleric, a mage and a bard. But these are relatively amoral ‘heroes’ who are in it for the sex, drugs and rock and roll of it all. When we first see them, they are involved in a bar fight. We very soon see that we are not in the presence of a regular set of protagonists. They are often in conflict with one another and have vastly different agendas. The series starts with a between-adventures bar fight before they are asked to save the nearby land of …….. from an unknown monster, which ends up being revealed to be a dragon. They then become the official heroes of the land they saved before being embroiled in the revenge filled agenda of Percy as he tries to free his land from the monsters that have taken his ancestral home.

In these stories we have love stories, redemption arcs and hero moments. We also have a lot of pretty graphic moments of violence and horror. Now all of that is good and if all that this show had to offer was drama and violence, it would still be worth seeing. The thing is, the biggest selling point of this show is it’s humour.

From the dry humour of Vex, Vax and Percy who are all quick asides and quips to the comedy gem that is Grog, the party’s tank, who moves from kind hearted goof to barbarian war machine in seconds, sometimes doing both at the same time. But as well as that, we get the party’s Bard, Scanlan. A blending of Marvel’s Pip the Troll, Farscape’s Rigel XVI and HIMYM’s Barney Stinson. Most of the show’s more risque moments and jokes. Everyone knows one of those people who are a bit too NSFW and when you take that to the Nth degree you get Scanlan and his magic purple hand spell.

The thing that struck me most about this show was that unlike a lot of fantasy series, there was a sort of layperson reaction to it all. The cast acting like the fucked up stuff was in fact fucked up. People reacted to the weirdness, like dragons, vampires and Vex having a familiar called Trinket who is a bear. This is a not safe for work show, plenty of sexual references, violence and horror wrapped up in a fantasy setting that makes this one of the most unique and interesting TV shows I have seen in the last two or three years. I knew it was something special when I was genuinely angry that the season had come to an end. Honestly I’m thinking of watching it again just writing about it. It’s on Amazon Prime at my end, which if you don’t have it, should have some kind of 30 day free trial option and this is very much worth giving a try.

Posted in TV Stuff

5 Adult Animations

When I was a young’un, animation was clearly seen as a medium for children. They were relegated to after school timeslots and Saturday mornings. With the ascendance of the Simpsons as well as Family Guy and South Park, animation was given a new avenue to entertain a new audience that wanted an animated show that wasn’t just for kids and many times not even suitable for the little ones.

Final Space

Part satire on space opera, part action show and part comedy this is the tale of Gary, a prisoner on a space ship, who gets drawn into large galaxy spanning events and encounters a variety of characters and ends up on a quest to save Quinn, a woman Gary longs for, who doesn’t feel the same. It’s silly and whacky fun and whilst I am unsure who the target audience is, it certainly works for me.

Archer

A bit of an old standby, this is a series out the life of an international spy, his colleagues, his ex and his mother all working for a spy agency in a modern day setting, but using very cold War themes and characters. Archer himself is a boorish, womanising, heavy drinking narcissist who is also somehow a great spy. But really it’s a workplace based sitcom with witty writing and bizarre characters. I won’t lie, halfway through its run the wheels start coming off, but it’s pretty fun to watch.

Lower Decks

I am a big fan of Trek, in almost all its forms. If it has one flaw, is that it takes itself too seriously. Lower Decks does not suffer from this flaw. This version is once again a workplace sitcom which pokes loving fun at the franchise, showing us the view from the junior officers of a mid-level ship in the fleet. A

Bojack Horseman

Morphing from a comedy-satire of Hollywood, to a character study of a man struggling with his many many flaws to an examination of what having such a toxic person in your life can do to you, this was a fascinating, if uncomfortable journey. Will Arnett kills it as a former star struggling to stay relevant and loved several years past the heights of his career, surrounded by equally flawed people it was an interesting story that had a beginning, middle and end and satisfying end. It would be nice to see what happened next, but it ended so well that, I’m okay if we don’t.

The Legend of Vox Machina

I am not going to say too much about this, because honestly it has made such an impression, it’s going to be it’s own post. This is one of those shows that can do pathos, action, horror and humour with equal ease, without the whiplash of tonal shifts that you would expect. The show is an adaptation of Dungeons and Dragons Roleplay campaign and is absolutely full of amazing characters and incredible voice actors.

Well that’s another 5 done. See you soon internet people.